APACHE JUNCTION, AZ — A local bookstore is closing its doors but giving away thousands of books in the process.
Mary Ann’s Mostly Books is filled with history - not just within the books but the store itself.
"I went around all the garage sales and things like that. When I first started the bookstore, it killed me to sell a book because it was my book but, I got over that,” says owner Mary Ann Steele.
Now, she wants others to take a piece of that history home with them - for free. She’s hoping it will open them up to a world of learning.
“I think finding out about things that aren't right next door to you... is one of the most important things on reading,” says Steele.
Steele has been in the bookstore business for 23 years. The first store opened in Benson, near Tucson. It then moved to Apache Junction three years ago. Now, it is set to close. Her sons have been helping her in the process.
“I would rather people take them for free than me pay for someone to haul them away and I don’t know where they are going to go,” says the owner's son, Paul Steele.
It’s a happy time for the family as they get to share the books with others but, it’s also emotional. It brings back many memories.
“Just for fun, I used to say to her, ‘Hey mom, tell me about that book with that guy and the dog and the Cadillac and whatever.’ Just making stuff up and she would say, ‘Oh, that's by so and so or whatever.’ There’s a book about everything right, and she knows them all. She’s incredible,” says Paul.
There are thousands of books left of all types, dating back to the 1800s. Those stopping by the store off Apache Trail cherish the opportunity to find hidden gems.
“Not destroyed, but damaged by water...I kind of like that because it's been used by someone else. It has like a history,” says one customer.
“It's a great treasure. People ought to take advantage of it,” says another customer.
As people walk out, Steele and her sons hope they leave with much more than what they hoped for.
“I think about the first person who bought this and how excited they were to have it... how many different eyes over the years have read those, that book... how any one of these books could've changed someone's life,” says Paul.
Even more books will be unloaded from boxes on Thursday. The store is located at 1000 W. Apache Trail in Apache Junction.
Monetary donations are welcome.